the u.s. currency hits a 20-month high against the yen. investors are keeping a keen eye on how far the dollar will go against the yen. the u.s. currency reached the upper 84-yen level in new york for the first time in 20 months. the dollar hit 84.95 yen at one stage on monday in new york. investors bought the dollar against the yen after liberal
democratic party leader shinzo abe said his new government may reach an agreement with japan's central bank on an inflation target. there is speculation the central bank may come under further pressure for monetary easing measures. the dollar/yen is currently trading at 84.82 to 85. >> catherine, the incoming leader abe has even mentioned revising the bank of japan law which adds more pressure onto the central bank of japan. now, a bit of background, the boj decided last week to extend its asset purchase program by 10 trillion yen, but many investors think the bank needs to do more, still. let's go to ramin mellegard who is at the tokyo stock exchange to get a check on how all of this is affecting tokyo markets. ramin, good morning. >> good morning to you. markets really keeping a close eye on the weaker yen here, and if it's going to weaken further,
in fact, and really that's been leading to the gains in stocks that we've been seeing. i also need to keep an eye on the developments of the u.s. fiscal cliff and whether that's going to be resolved or not in the coming days. let's have a look at the opening levels for december 25. 10,000. we're back above that level today, 10r,097. for the nikkei, 10,098. with large volume, i may add coming from both domestic and foreign importers. also sectors who may benefit from the more expansive monetary policy measures that may be forthcoming such as banks and real estate sectors, too, so we'll follow those as well today. however, we should expect to see in trading a lot of key indexes across asia will be closed today, the hang sang as well as singapore and australian inde s
indexes. but let's have a look at currency that's really been the main topic of conversation in the markets. dollar/yen, 84.83 to 85, top of the screen there, and the you e euro/yen, 111.78 to 85. a lot of investors are convinced that the latest weakening of the yen is not just a short-term correction but more of a long-term one there as even shinzo abe has been targeting a level of around 90 yen. now, with the u.s. markets closed for public holiday, there may be a little bit of thin trading today. there will be key housing data later this week which may indicate market direction. but for now we're back up above that 10,000 level on the nikkei. back to you. >> ramin, now up 1.8% in the nikkei. thank you for that update. despite the increasing
popularity of smartphones, japanese phone makers are expected to face another tough year. the japan electronics and information technology industries association said that worldwide production of mobile phones will rise 12% next year to $245 billion. that's as an increasing number of people switch to smartphones from regular mobile phones. but production by japanese makers, that will grow only by 1% to $17 billion. their share in the global market is expected to decline to 7% from the current 8%. japanese makers have been struggling to make inroads to the global market where apple and south korea's samsung remains strong. the japanese are making use of the digital technologies to tap into the skin care market. fuji 2 uses a smartphone to analyze the condition of a
person's skin. users place a sheet called a color reference chart alongside their face and take photos with smartphones that have special software inside. it compares the skin with their chart. it rates the user's skin condition. they say the data are uploaded and stored to help users and cosmetics companies to choose suitable skin care products and treatments. meanwhile, sony has utilized its digital processing technology to develop a system that displays how much melanin a user's skin contains. users can check the condition of their skin just by pressing a simple device against their faces. sony says it enables users to know the extent of blemishes they're likely to have in the future. electronics makers are developing new technologies for the beauty and health care markets to make up for the falling sales of televisions and
other home appliances. let's now get a check on the global economic calendar for this week. it is a slow week during the seasonal holidays. on wednesday, the standard and poor's case-shiller index will be released. the u.s. home market is on a recovery track. on friday, japan's jobless rate for november will come out. the rate stood at 12.2% for october which is unchanged from the previous month. friday is the last trading day of the year for the tokyo stock exchange. a special guest will ring a bell to close the market for 2012. this year saudi yoshida will do the honors. she won a gold medal in the olympic games in women's wrestling. i'll have more business news for you in the next hour. here's a recap of markets.
a gunman has ambushed four firefighters in the u.s. state of new york. the attack left three people dead, including the alleged shooter. police say the firefighters responded to a house fire around 6:00 a.m. local time in the northwestern town of webster. they say a 62-year-old gunman exchanged fire with police officers. the gunman was found dead five hours later. police say he committed suicide. they believe the man set fire to his house and car to lure the firefighters. he then ambushed them. the alleged attacker spent
nearly 18 years in prison for murdering his grandmother. he was banned from possessing guns. the shooting forced the crew to slow the attempt to fight the blaze. the fire spread to 7 nearby houses, burning them to the ground. a shooting rampage earlier the same day at a bar in a seattle suburb left one customer dead and another wounded. u.s. president barack obama has set a january deadline for proposals to deal with the gun violence. the u.s. has seen several shooting rampages this year, including the newtown school shooting which left 26 people dead. international peace envoy brahimi sat down with talks with syria's president bashar assad. they tried to reach a conclusion on the syrian war, but there is no indication they reached a breakthrough. they met in the capital damascus. they discussed the crisis and moving forward.
they planned to set up an administration with government and anti-government forces. he plans to pull power from the assad administration to a new government. but the opposition wants to overthrow the assad administration and the government regards the opposition as terrorist. two insider attacks in afghanistan have rattled the international security forces. an afghan policewoman shot and killed a u.s. contractor in the capital kabul. the victim was a security consultant for the police. other officers detained the woman at the scene. her motive is unknown. another afghan police officer opened fire at a checkpoint in the northern province of jasjon. he killed five colleagues and fled the site. police believe he was a member of the taliban. afghan soldiers and police officers have killed more than 50 members of the international forces this year. the taliban has not claimed responsibility for the kabul shooting, but the group claims to have placed members in the military and police force to launch insider attacks.
japan's air self-defense force scrambled fighter jets after a chinese aircraft came close to japanese air space. the aircraft was flying near the sunkoku islands in the south china sea. the defense ministry says the asdf spotted a wide 12 propellor aircraft on its radar. the plane was approaching from the north. it released f-15 fighter jets from the chinese prefecture. it flew within 120 kilometres of
the islands but left without raiding japanese air space. the afdf dispatched fighters in response. a wide 12 aircraft also approached the islands last saturday but left without violating japan's air space. a chinese think tank says it can't rule out the possibility of clashes breaking out between japan and china over territorial disputes. the government-affiliated chinese academy of social sciences released its assessment of the analyst situation in a report on monday. referring to the budget in japan, they reported china-japan is in the worst state. it adds that tensions could be eased through diplomatic channels. china has repeatedly sent ships into japanese waters around the sonkuku, apparently to jeopardi
jeopardize japan and to recognize that opposition exists. china says japan's stubborn position could push it further. china-japan relations, as well as northeast asia's security instability will face difficult challenges. analysts said the report is thought to be aimed at thwarting further moves of the president to be inaugerated this week. park began picking her team of aides and advisers. lawmaker yohuhu is her chief of staff. the 67-year-old yu is an ally of pug. he is known as an expert in economic policy. park says pug will play a strong role at shaping foreign policy. she also named yun as her spokesperson.
yun is vice president of the newspaper and television association. he studied at tokyo's ko university. puck is said to set up her administration this week. russian president vladimir putin spends christmas eve in india, and he sees the chance to sign billions of dollars worth in trade and defense deals. putin met indian prime minister singh in new delhi. they agreed on a deal for india to purchase components of fighter jets to assemble. they also agreed to set up a $2 billion fund to set up joint trade and economic projects. they decided to add two nuclear reactors to southern india. but they reportedly failed to agree on terms of compensation in the event of an accident.
wrestling fans turned out for events in pakistan earlier this month that pitted some of japan's strongest men against each other. professional wrestling used to be popular in pakistan and thousands showed up for the exhibition matches. behind the scenes is a long history between a japanese wrestling giant and a legendary local family. verk has the story. >> reporter: more than 20,000 people turned up to see this pro wrestling event. several wrestlers took to the ring. but there was no one better than strong man antonio noki. he may be 69 years old now, but he remains popular around the world, and his enormous presence
in pakistan is a win. >> translator: i saw anoki's match in pakistan in 1976. we respect him because he's a great wrestler. >> reporter: anoki visited pakistan twice in the 1970s to take on local wrestlers. the first bout in 1976 pitted him against a national hero who was billed as the world's strongest man. he came from a family of wrestlers who were widely popular among pakistanis. the family was given the title elvan, which means wrestler as a sign of respect. but in the 1976 match against anoki, his shoulder was
dislocated and he lost the match. the whole country would stand by the -- was stunned by the unexpected defeat. there was one family whose nephew was just ten years old at the time, but he still remembers the match vividly. >> translator: i was a child then, but i cried a lot. the whole family was upset. everybody was crying. >> reporter: the next member of the family to take on anoki was one of their up and coming stars chara who was 16 at the time. >> translator: my brother jara set his focus on defeating anoki and trained day in and day out. his boyhood was devoted to revenge.
>> reporter: anoki was fighting in pakistan for a revenge match in 1979. the family's honor was at stake. jara's appearance had changed greatly after three years of intensive training. >> translator: he must have been obsessed because his physique had completely changed in three years. i remember him flexing his shoulder muscles. >> reporter: the two fought a close bout which ended in a draw. but after the final round, inoki walked up to jara and lifted his arm, admitting defeat. >> translator: we were exulted. inoki admitted defeat and we got our revenge. we also witnessed inoki's spirit of sportsmanship.
>> translator: both of them have died since the memorable bout, and wrestling is no longer so popular in pakistan. during this visit, they offered a prayer. he told him he would like his son to do blood wrestling in japan. the pakistani and japanese wrestler fought a legendary bout that ruined 85 friendships between families and between countries. they are now handing down their robe to the next generation. nhk world. for people who run japan's amusement arcades, life is
anything but fun and games. some operators are adapting by targeting the older player. >> more than half the people who visit this arcade on weekdays are age 60 or over. this couple is in their 70s. >> it's no fun staying alone at home. that's why i come here. >> translator: i haven't joined any senior citizen groups. it's more comfortable and less stressful here. >> reporter: we're in a shopping mall in a suburb of inazawa city. there is not a lot to do here as far as shops and entertainment goes. the mall is about the only game in town. the number of elderly customers is up by one-fifth from 14 years ago when the mall opened. so as the young and family
clientele shrunk, the owner shifted his target to the elderly. he makes an effort to help the customers stay fit so they'll enjoy the games more. a daily exercise routine started this summer. it eases stiff joints and backs. the customers have been playing hard. when the excitement runs high, customers can use these blood pressure monitors. they can even borrow eyeglasses when they need to know the score. many machines here are older models. they're easier to play and more familiar to the elderly. there are even a few games set up just for the senior clientele.
news of the arcade has spread. its member program now boasts more than 120 people each day. >> each customer might not spend that much, but if we get many customers, our business will flourish. we have to tailor our services to the demand of the community. >> the izakawa game center has helped this community. this man suffered a brain hemorrhage several years ago. he spends most of his time at home. his wife has been taking care of him, but the responsibility is stressful. one day when they were out shopping, they stopped at the arcade. now they are regulars here. he has become more cheerful.
hitago has made friends with other customers at the arcade. they give each other support. >> translator: we can talk about various things and understand how each other feels. i feel encouraged to try and live better. >> beyond the bells and bright lights, the izakawa game center may be a glimpse of the future as they adapt to a growing senior clientele. >> nice to see those smiles there. well, arcade goers in tokyo are enjoying sunny skies, but people in western areas of japan are dealing with heavy snow. here's the latest in her world weather forecast. let us first start talking about japan, if we're getting a white christmas or not. let me show you a video coming up from kyoto first. as you can see, residents in the
west side of japan are experiencing a white christmas. this is from kyotango prefecture, where about eight inches of snow piled up overnight. this is triggered by warm air from central russia. people along the west coast can expect plenty of snow and wind again and plenty of low temperatures, but these kids aren't really minding that and having a lot of fun here. let's pull back and show you we do see a low pressure system that is going to be developing and moving across this country, so that will be intensifying the wintry pressure pattern on top of what we have already been seeing. about 5:40 a.m., we have identified 198 centimetres, that's about two metres height in yawata prefecture, and the bad news is it's going to be continuing. about 18 centimetres will be
found in the next 24 hours. about 50 centimetres will be piling up as well. in kyoto, about 126 kilometres per hour is expected and the waves will pick up about 6 metres high on the coastal region. then the pacific side will be remaining very dry, so watch out for that very dry air. high pressure will be dominating the crane peninsula and much of that china, and it's going to be very cold. frigid arctic air will be pulling in, dropping those temperatures down, but on the other side of the world in the tropics, we do have a late season tropical depression that formed over east mindanel, possibly making landfall in either of those land masses. and it will be intensifying over the warm water into a tropical storm status in the next 24
hours. heavy rain will be targeting southern phillipines in the next 24. that could raise risk of flash flooding and landslides. manila 30 degrees. you can see why that system will be intensifying. minus 6 for your high in seoul. you'll probably see about minus 13 degrees for your wednesday morning. tokyo is barely staying on the double digits at 10 degrees. moving over to the american continent, here, unfortunately, i do have to talk about some severe thunderstorms to come across the region on christmas day. this is a battle of the warm air and the cold air just clashing here and you will probably see some tornadic activity, which cannot be ruled out, damaging winds and also some severe thunderstorms in store there. across oklahoma, this is where you'll see the heaviest snow for your christmas day, on the order of about 50 centimetres.